New arrivals, new challenges

: the experiences of primary school teachers managing the English language acquisition of Polish children

  • Naomi Flynn

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Schools in England have recently undergone a shift in their pupil demographic which in part reflects changing patterns of trans-European migration since the accession of new member states to the EU in 2004 and 2007 (DCSF, 2008b). There is evidence that this shift is one experienced not just in inner-city schools most commonly associated with ethnic minority populations, but in a wide range of schools in rural and smaller town settings in a number of counties across the country (Vertovec, 2007b).

This research explored the responses of English primary school teachers, from a county in the south of England, to Polish children arriving after 2006. Interviews were conducted with a group of teachers with differing levels of confidence and experience in supporting the language acquisition of English language learners. Using Bourdieu’s logic of practice and constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006), interview data are analysed in order to explore how teachers define their practice for teaching English to both native speakers and to children who are English language learners. The nature of teachers’ subject knowledge is studied in terms of its influence on confidence, or otherwise, to adapt pedagogy in the face of changing pupil need. Teachers’ responses to difference are considered in relation to children and families of the ‘new migration’ (Favell, 2008).

Findings highlight that teachers’ subject knowledge for the teaching of English is complex and related to a blend of experience, belief and understanding. Furthermore, that teachers are more influenced by a centrally controlled curriculum for English than they may realise. Implications for policy and practice relating to the teaching of children who are English language learners in an increasingly diverse Britain are discussed.
Date of Award18 Jul 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorBridget Egan (Supervisor) & Rhona Stanthrop (Supervisor)

Cite this

New arrivals, new challenges: the experiences of primary school teachers managing the English language acquisition of Polish children
Flynn, N. (Author). 18 Jul 2012

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis